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Florida Churches Volunteer to work with UC’s Mountain Outreach


Williamsburg, KY., - Many volunteers, students, and church groups have come to Williamsburg over the years to help University of the Cumberlands’ (UC) Mountain Outreach (MO) program. Dr. Jim Oaks, Chairman of the Board of Trustees at UC, mentioned to his church in Jacksonville, Florida about the organization’s mission and the members decided they wanted to be a part of this unique ministry. Oaks, an active member of First Baptist Church of Jacksonville Beach, contacted MO’s Director Marc Hensley to arrange the mission trip. Although Oaks and wife Hazel now call Florida their home, he has deep roots in Kentucky where he worked as Vice President for CSX Railroad. Dr. Oaks previously served as a Deacon at First Baptist Church, Corbin, Kentucky and served on the Board of Directors of Kentucky Baptist Hospitals, Inc. While in Corbin, he joined the family at University of the Cumberlands where he has served on the Board of Trustees since 1985.

Thirty volunteers from First Baptist Church of Jacksonville Beach, Florida and Macedonia Baptist Church of Jacksonville, Florida, along with some other different churches sprinkled in the mix, traveled to Williamsburg to assist MO. “We had a spaghetti dinner at our church in order to raise money for Mountain Outreach,” said volunteer Helen Hessin. “We paid our way here out of our own pockets. We wanted to make sure that all of the money raised or donated went straight into the hands of MO. Helping people really feels good.”


The group of 30 split up into three teams and traveled to different parts of Whitley County to their job assignments. One team helped indoors at the MO Warehouse and organized items and hung up and folded clothes that had been donated. “We are just straightening things up in here and putting things where they need to go,” said Hessin. “You can have fun doing a lot of good work. I enjoy doing missions work and I actually went to Costa Rica last year with 6:8 Ministries. We have traveled to a few other places and I plan on continuing.”

The second team helped a lady, Doll Rogers, in the community with work at her home where they painted her living room and a small room in her basement. Rogers, a cancer survivor and active member of Main Street Baptist Church of Williamsburg, is also an MO volunteer. She traveled to Pikeville, Kentucky during UC’s Spring Break and helped MO volunteers by cooking their meals while they worked in Pike County. Olive Ledbetter (Macedonia Baptist Church) enjoyed spending her time painting the home of Rogers. Ledbetter, a former employee of the New York Baptist Convention, had such a giving heart and appreciated the MO organization. “We are blessing everyone but I feel it too,” she said.

The third team was stationed at Bee Creek at the home of an elderly woman who would soon be wheelchair bound and in need of a ramp at her residence. The small group of eight worked hard to build the ramp as they discussed past memories of traveling to Arizona, Honduras, Brazil, and other fascinating countries and cities to spread the Gospel. This team had two rookie volunteers with them who were very handy with a saw and were knowledgeable about God’s Word. They were brothers, one in high school and one in middle school, who had made the trip to Kentucky with their grandparents over their spring break. “We are having so much fun!” said volunteers Christian and Jacob Zecher at once. “Our grandmother (Martha Primosoch) always takes us somewhere on our spring break. This year she asked us if we wanted to come to Kentucky with the church to work with an organization called Mountain Outreach, so we did,” said Jacob. “I am glad we did and I would love to continue doing more things like this.”

“We are always grateful for our many partners that join the mission of MO with willing hearts to help with the many needs in our area,” said MO Director Marc Hensley. “These volunteers traveled a long way and did whatever was asked of them and they did that with a loving spirit, smiles, and great attitudes. We are blessed to have folks such as these that are willing to give of themselves.”

For more information concerning MO and to see what you can do to help, contact Hensley at 606-539-4143 or visit

Located in Williamsburg, Ky., University of the Cumberlands is an institution of regional distinction, which currently offers four undergraduate degrees in more than 40 major fields of study; 10 pre-professional programs; ten graduate degrees distributed over eight areas, including two doctorates and seven master’s degrees; certifications in education; and online programs. For more information visit